Russell County Medical Center | News Article

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here's a look at our Triumph breast cancer navigators

 You’ve probably seen the pink everywhere this month. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 Millions of women are surviving the disease, thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatment. But did you know that:

  •    Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers.
  •    The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016 more than 246,000 women – and 2,600 men – in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  •    About 1 in 8 women (12 percent) in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

 At Mountain States, our free Triumph cancer navigator program guides patients and their families through their cancer journey, and it includes three nurse navigators – Amy Verble, Gayle Hawley and Kimberly Hall – who specialize in breast cancer. Triumph’s navigators help with all aspects of cancer care, including communication with the doctor, appointment reminders, coordinating treatments and providing emotional support.

 Visit for more information.

 Here’s a quick intro to our three Triumph breast cancer navigators:

 Gayle Hawley, RN, BSN, OCN, Gayle Hawleyworks with patients at Indian Path. She received her nursing degree from East Tennessee State University and is an oncology-certified nurse (OCN) by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corp. and a member of the Oncology Nursing Society. She is a member of Colonial Heights Christian Church and volunteers for the Emmaus Community and Kairos Prison Ministry.

 When Gayle’s mother had a chronic, ultimately terminal illness, she learned what life was like from the perspective of the patient and their family. This inspired her career choice, which now allows her to be a source of comfort for cancer patients. “It’s a mutual relationship,” Gayle said. “I share my story and they share theirs.”

 As a cancer navigator, she helps her patients find and accept support for their emotional and physical needs, and provides encouragement. “We all need hope, no matter how small it is,” Amy VerbleGayle said. “There’s always hope, always something to look forward to.”

 Amy Verble, RN, BSN, who serves JCMC, earned her nursing degree from Milligan  College and is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society. She is very involved in events like the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the Relay For Life.

 Amy followed in her mother’s footsteps 16 years ago when she started her own nursing career. When she became a breast cancer nurse navigator in 2012, she found her role to be more multifaceted because she often spends months with her patients from diagnosis through post-treatment. “For a cancer nurse navigator, there is no typical day,” she said. “I mold to whatever the patient may need -- a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on. I work closely with my patients to, hopefully, make their cancer journey a little easier.”

 Kimberly Hall, RN, BBA, earned an associate nursing degree from Kimberly HallSouthwest  Virginia Community College, her bachelor’s degree from King University and is in the ONS. She is involved in the JMH “Celebrate Women” event, the ACS Relay For Life and in oncology patient appreciation events at JMH. She serves JMH, Smyth County Community Hospital and Russell County Medical Center.

 As a child, Kimberly watched as the family came to depend on her mother, a nurse, for answers and for hope when her cousin was diagnosed with cancer. It was then that Kim knew she also would one day be a nurse. As a nurse for 18 years, Kim says that her cancer patients “inspire and bless me every day.” She gets to know her patients personally and loves how that bond remains, even years later. Kim said, “It warms my heart to be able to be there for my patients during this difficult time in their lives.”

 The latest member to join Triumph is Misty Myers, LPN, community navigator at Norton Community Hospital who serves breast cancer patients.



 “Celebrate Women” is a free event on Thursday, Oct. 27, hosted by the Regional Cancer Center at Smyth County Community Hospital in Marion, Va., to increase awareness around breast cancer. It supports breast cancer patients, survivors and their families. It is one of three breast cancer events sponsored in October by the Regional Cancer Centers at Johnston Memorial Hospital, Russell County Medical Center and Smyth County Community Hospital.

 It will last from 3-4 p.m. at the SCCH’s administrative conference room and will feature a presentation by Jessica Hill, NP, of the Regional Cancer Center that focuses on the importance of breast health. Also, the Washington County Breast Cancer Support Group will be there to offer guidance to community members in developing a support group.

 There will be giveaways and light refreshments. For more information, call 276-258-1898.



 This fun 5K walk, supporting the American Cancer Society, takes place on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. at Johnson City’s Founders Park, with registration starting at 1 p.m.. For more information, click here.